The impact that James Harden‘s standoff with the Sixers might have on star teammate Joel Embiid has been an ongoing subplot this offseason as the Harden saga drags on. Speaking to reporters on Monday for the first time this fall, Embiid was asked if he feels the need to put public pressure on his team’s front office to make a move, the way Giannis Antetokounmpo did this summer in Milwaukee.
“It’s tricky. I think it could go both ways,” Embiid said (Twitter video link via Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer). “… (The Sixers’ front office decision-makers) get paid to make those decisions, so that’s why I leave it up to them. If they want my opinion, maybe I give it, but I trust (them). Any team that I’m on, I’m still going to believe that I have a chance to win, no matter who’s on the roster. And we’ve got a lot of great players. I’m happy with what we have.”
Embiid went on to say that he thinks Tyrese Maxey could be primed to make a leap this season and that the Harden situation will “hopefully” be resolved soon.
“If he’s here, we love him and we want him to be with us, and I think we have a better team with him on the floor,” Embiid said. “And I think he knows it too, so hopefully that gets resolved. If that doesn’t (get resolved), it doesn’t change the goal, it doesn’t change anything. The goal is still to go out there and try to win a championship.”
Here’s more from the Sixers’ media day:
- Veteran Sixers forward P.J. Tucker said today that his relationship with Harden goes “way beyond basketball” and that he supports him whether he ends up remaining in Philadelphia or getting traded elsewhere (Twitter video link via Pompey). Asked if he thinks Harden will end up reporting to the 76ers, Tucker said he has “no idea,” adding, “I know he feels strongly about how he feels.”
- A feeling that he was wanted was a primary reason why Kelly Oubre signed with the Sixers, he told reporters today (Twitter link via Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports). According to Oubre, president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and head coach Nick Nurse both pushed hard for him to sign with the club.
- Although he’s very much a part of their long-term plans, the Sixers aren’t looking to extend Maxey this offseason because they want to maximize their 2024 cap flexibility. Maxey said today that he’s not upset or discouraged by that decision, according to Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). “I’m focusing on the season,” he said. “… I love Philly. I know it’s a business. I know this is how it goes.”
- Danny Green was limited to 11 appearances last season while recovering from ACL and LCL tears and he turned 36 in June, but the veteran swingman sounds optimistic about his chances of having a bounce-back season. “This is the best my body’s felt in a long time,” he said today, per Mizell (Twitter link).